How to make your BI project a success?

Few months ago, I wrote a blog post covering why most of the BI project ended up in a trashcan and in it, I tried to identify the reasons to the high frailer rate of BI projects. However, after reading the post, one of my colleague asked me why don’t write about how to make a BI project successful. So that is what I’m going to cover in this post.  I will talk about which factors makes the project a success.

Right motivation

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In order to make a BI project a success, you or the people who initiate the project must have right motivation to implement a BI practice in your organization. The motivation should be based on a proper understanding about why your organization need a BI solution and  what your business can archive from a BI solution.  Best way to get that understanding is by doing a research about how have the successful BI projects increased company revenue and efficiency.  If a company start a BI project just because they have budget or just because they hear BI and Big data every where, the end of the project might not be a success.

Right understanding

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Once you have the right motivation, next important thing is educate the business users and decision makers regarding it. Basically, they are the one who make decision on whether a BI solution is needed or not as well as they are the one who is going to use it in their decision making process. Therefore, they should have a clear idea about how the BI system going to help them and what kind of business insights they can obtain from the new systems. In some BI projects, I have seen business users use good BI platforms just as a reporting tool while having problematic business areas in their organisation which can clearly be benefited from the BI solution.

Right People

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Right people is the most important factor in the success of a BI project. For the beginning of the project to the end of the project it’s all people who decide the fate of the project.

Initially , the decision makes, the C people need to take decision on whether they need to invest on BI. Once the project go to live, they might have to enforce business users to use the system in their decision making process as some people would still prefer the old ways. (using spreadsheets or trusting  their gut feeling)

Then the business users must corporate to the project in all the phases ; most importantly in requirement gathering and UAT phases.Specially in requirement gathering phase, you need to pick right business user who have a in depth idea about business as well as a clear idea about what the organization is trying to achieve using the upcoming BI system. Additionally, They need to actively use the system and need to provide the continuous feedback to improve the system.

The IT team need to help with data. There should be right technical people to implement the project, doesn’t matter it’s an internal project or an outsourced project. You need to have people with good experience BI and sound technical background related to BI practices and technologies.

Right Tools

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Selecting right tools and technologies is key to the success of a BI solution. First of all, the tools should match with your organization budget because directors or C people could completely discard the idea of having a BI solution if the cost it too high from the organisation aspect . Tools and technologies should not be too expensive and should cover most of your BI requirements. Next thing is the usability of the tools and features . Remember the business user are not technical people and their job is to execute their assigned task efficiently and successfully and you are here to help them with it. So the new BI platform must be very easy to use and must not add any complexity to users.

Right training

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Doesn’t matter how cool features you provide in your BI system, if the business users don’t know how to use it. So training plays a very important role in a project. In the UAT phase and before move in to the production, you will have to train them on how to use the new BI system and how they can extract actionable insights out of it.  It shouldn’t be one time training , rather few training sessions until they become familiar with the system.

Right Culture

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Again doesn’t matter how good the BI systems is if people don’t use it. So you will require to make your organization a data driven organization and it will be a cultural change within the organisation as well. Remember It’s not a one person’s job. You will require help from directors, C people, department heads, business users and IT team. Specially directors, C people and department heads will have to enforce employee to back their decision with data.

These are the few main facts which decide the fate of your BI project and make sure you cover all these factors in right manner. Thanks for reading and feel free to add your thoughts to the post by commenting.

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